Written, directed by and starring Noémie Lvovsky, Camille Rewinds tells the story of an out of work actress who gets by as an extra dying in gory horror movies. Her husband Eric (Samir Guesmi) has found a younger woman and wants her to move out of their house so he can sell it and she’s dealing with this by drinking herself into an early grave. Her daughter encourages her to put on a hot dress and join her high school friends at a New Years Eve party. On the way she gets a jeweler to fix her watch and cut off her wedding ring. After releasing the ring out of a window, Camille continues to drink, and drink, and drink. Then at midnight she passes out and wakes up in the hospital, in 1987, a teenager in high school and both her parents are still alive.
She has the chance to start over and do things a little differently. She hasn’t yet fallen in love with Eric, she hasn’t yet fallen pregnant to him, and she decides she is going to take the opportunity to do things differently. For starters she appreciates her parents, following her mother around with a tape recorder recording her voice so she’ll always have it with her after she dies. But telling them that she loves them makes them suspicious and they start treating her as if she’s gone mental. She finds, despite her best efforts, she still can’t refuse the advances of Eric, but their relationship is far more complicated than it was first time round, and seemingly at the expense of her friends.
Her best friends are a kooky bunch who revolt in Literacy class by jumping out the window after their teacher speaks inappropriately to them, they break into a local pool after hours, and have choreographed dance moves, which they perform at parties, to “walking on sunshine”. It’s a shame they don’t get explored further, especially considering they are, in their small way, in her life 25 years down the track.
But this is the love story of Camille and Eric and how fate plays its part in love. They drive each other mental but are still drawn to one another. In its own way it is very sweet, but the story is wildly nostalgic and doesn’t play with the time-travelling theme nearly enough. But it’s French and kooky, well acted and very very sweet. Plus, you gotta love the 80s, in hindsight.
Camille Rewinds is playing as part of the Alliance Francaise Film Festival across Australia.